At first glance, it may seem hard to imagine how you can monetize Instagram. It's primarily a photo-sharing app, after all. But think about the hundreds of thousands the Kardashians make for a single Instagram post, or the top bloggers who earn a few thousand dollars for content collaborations on Instagram, and you might reconsider.
These Instagrammers have reach and influence all worked out. Together, these two factors offer Instagram content creators the opportunity to explore various revenue streams.
Before you think about earning thousands of dollars on Instagram, let me ask you a question.
Do you have a quality audience for good engagement?
Your reach and influence depends on the quality of your audience. It is the only factor that decides how much engagement you will get, which further decides how influential your posts are.
Because of the Instagram algorithm, your post will initially be visible to only 10 percent of your audience. If it gets a lot of engagement, then it will be visible to the other 90 percent of your audience. If it gets less engagement, you will lose out on it appearing at the top of Instagram feeds.
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One of the main reasons for low engagement is fake or inactive followers, so make sure you first focus on getting a quality audience. Once you have a quality audience, you can start earning money on Instagram in the following ways.
1. Become an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing can be a good revenue stream once you've got a sizable following. Essentially, it involves partnering with a brand to generate awareness as well as sales in exchange for a commission.
This is usually done via trackable URL or unique promo code that the influencer adds to their posts. You'll earn a commission (anywhere from 5 to 15 percent) for the number of people who use your link to make a purchase.
Considering Instagram doesn't allow you to add links outside your bio, you can focus on only one product at a time. This is why incorporating promo codes in your posts is a good option for Instagram.
2. Publish sponsored posts for brands.
Influencer marketing is one of the most popular strategies brands rely on, with 94 percent of marketers finding it effective. Whether you're a macro- or micro-influencer, if you're an expert in your niche, you will be successful.
Brands are always looking to collaborate with Instagrammers of all sizes to deliver their targeted messages to prospective consumers. Sponsored posts can the take the form of a simple brand mention, a product review or even a testimonial.
Most sponsored post deals like these are negotiable and can range from a single post to a complete campaign. When setting your rate, remember that you're not just offering your content to brands. More importantly, you're giving them access to your followers and usage rights too.
3. Launch your e-commerce store.
By now, you're probably thinking the only way for you to make money on Instagram is to collaborate with brands. But that isn't the case. If you're a product creator, Instagram is a great platform for you to market your products. Your products are an extension of you as a brand, so build a business around them with a focus on your audience.
By selling your own creations on Instagram, you don't need to worry about integrating brand messages into your posts. The only brand you need to worry about is your own. You can incorporate a link to your e-commerce landing page in your bio. Better yet, utilize the Shop Now advertising button that Instagram added to help e-commerce businesses.
You could use print-on-demand services to print and ship merchandise like T-shirts, coffee mugs and wall art. Fashion and health businesses are particularly famous for using Instagram as a marketing platform for their e-commerce stores.
Master & Dynamic is a good example of a store making the most of Instagram to market its audio tools. The link in its bio redirects you to its product catalog.
4. Sell digital products.
Building on what we talked about in the previous point, you can use your Instagram account to sell digital products as well. Having established yourself as a subject matter expert, you can market digital resources that your followers might find useful.
From travel guides and e-books to fitness programs, there's a lot you can offer. If people love what you post on Instagram, chances are they'll be willing to pay for more detailed, targeted information. And why not, given the platform has so much to offer? These digital resources are selling well on Instagram, and brands love this concept for obvious reasons.
Digital products are a multibillion-dollar industry, and platforms like Instagram make it simple to market such resources and start earning your share. Whether you have an e-book or an online course, you know where to turn to market and sell your digital products.
Moreover, you can use Instagram to showcase your talents like art, writing and fashion. You could find people interested in hiring you for those skills as opposed to promoting things on your channel.
Take Alex Tooby, for instance. She leverages the platform to market her e-courses and paid training. On offer is a chance to learn how to use Instagram as a marketing platform from the expert herself.
5. Become a storytelling consultant.
A picture (and sometimes a video in this case) is worth a thousand words. If you're particularly good at using them to tell a story, you can monetize this talent of yours. Leverage your knack for storytelling to help brands write compelling narratives for themselves.
This is different from being a social media consultant. Here, you're the person responsible for creating content for brands to post on their Instagram accounts. Typically, that means you'd avoid posting the same content on your personal account.
Zach Houghton is one such artist adept at weaving thought-provoking tales that he frequently posts on his page. A number of brands often hire him to create narratives for them.
There's a world of opportunities for an Instagram user to earn money by leveraging the platform. Numerous celebrities and influencers, big and small, have used it to establish revenue streams for themselves.
With a dedicated following, you can use Instagram to launch successful business ventures. The special appeal you have can open doors for you. All you have to do is walk through them.